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Things to do in Riga

Build up your arms with some cross-country skiing

Latvian snow doesn’t usually fall until December. But once it does, all the locals take to Victory Park to enjoy some cross-country skiing. A tougher sport compared to its downhill counterpart, cross-country skiing is arguably more rewarding for its closeness to nature. Seek out the trails at Sigulda, just east of Riga.

Enjoy a night at the opera

Neoclassical in style, the Latvian National Opera building (tel: +371 6707 3777; www.opera.lv/en) is not only a celebrated cultural institution but also a statement to be taken seriously. The operatic company and the celebrated national ballet, both of which call the venue home, have met that challenge; do not miss the chance to see either perform.

Keep your grip during a tree top adventure

Visitors looking to stretch their limbs should hang out at Mežakaķis Adventure Park (tel: +371 6797 6886; www.kakiskalns.lv). Located in north Riga’s Mežaparks, this treetop obstacle course features zip-wires, swings and rope bridges set to challenge everyone from children to adult athletes. All six courses start at ground level and take two hours to complete.

Paddle the city's canals at night

A beautiful city by day, Riga is also enchanting by night – especially when seen from a canal. Tours in Riga (tel: +371 2664 9035; www.toursinriga.lv) give visitors the chance to glide beneath bridges, through parks and past landmarks from a kayak. An expert guide who retells Riga’s rich history runs the tours at night.

Speed across the snow on a husky-pulled sled

Visitors looking to tame wild Latvia should head to Vidzeme, just over an hour drive from Riga. Locals in this remote part of Latvia maintain traditions such as husky sledding. Discover Latvia (tel: +371 2924 6129; www.discover-latvia.lv) will teach you how to ‘mush’ before you sled a 5km route. Mulled wine will greet you upon your return.